College Students Run Amok
Princeton students want to topple Woodrow Wilson from his position as the most famous president of that university because he was a racist. I would be more than happy to see him go symbolically because he created the leftist state that allows such protest nonsense to occur.
Wilson’s policies included the progressive income tax, the administrative state and the idea of a living Constitution.
But there’s more. Even an august academic, such as former SDS leader Todd Gitlin of Columbia University, thinks student protestors have lost their way. “[U]nder the surface of some recent protests is something besides indignation: an assumption of grave vulnerability. The victims too often present themselves as weak, in need of protection. Administrators are held, like helicopter parents, wholly responsible. To a veteran of movements of the ’60s like myself, this is strikingly strange,” Gitlin writes in The New York Times. For more, see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/why-are-student-protesters-so-fearful.html
But there’s even more. A University of Kansas professor has been placed on administrative leave for using racial epithets in a discussion about communications. Here’s what The Lawrence Journal-World wrote about Andrea Quenette, assistant professor of communication studies:
“It was an open conversation about a serious issue that is affecting our campus, and it will affect our teachers. In that regard, I consider it within my purview … to talk about those issues.”
The graduate students saw it differently.
“It was outright racism,” said Amy Schumacher, a first-year Ph.D. student who was in the class, which she said is composed of nine white students and one black student. “I don’t think that it was an open dialogue — she wasn’t receptive to hearing any other ideas.”
Schumacher said she believes Quenette “actively violated policies” during the discussion, hurt students’ feelings — including the one black student, who left “devastated” — and has a previous history of being unsympathetic to students.
Here is what I write in my media law syllabus: “Serious First Amendment discussions often include references to unpopular ideas and offensive expression. Although we will not hide from the hard questions and harsh language, everyone in the class should remain sensitive to individual differences.”
My God, it appears we can’t even have a frank discussion in academia anymore. I guess using God in the previous sentence would be out of bounds as a microaggression!
Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.